clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Top Plays in Mississippi State Football: No. 4, Bulldogs Block Punt for Touchdown in Orange Bowl

Even though it was over 70 years ago, there was a time that Mississippi State was a dominant as any team in the country. The highlight of those years under Allyn McKeen may have been the 1941 Orange Bowl which saw the Bulldogs knock off the Georgetown Hoyas 14-7.

In all of the 100 plus years of Mississippi State Bulldog history, there may not have been a time that Mississippi State played at a higher level than the Allyn McKeen Era, which lasted from 1939 to 1948. During those year, the Bulldogs had records of 8-2, 10-0-1, 8-1-1, 8-2. 6-2,6-3, 8-2, 7-3, and 4-4-1. That era also so the Bulldogs claim their only SEC Title, and some Mississippi State fans say that the Bulldogs deserve the 1941 national title.

However, the biggest game of that era may have been when the Bulldogs played in the 1941 (January) Orange Bowl against Georgetown.

The 1940 Season came in the midst of a 21-game unbeaten streak for Mississippi State. (Just re-read that and say WHAAAA??) That's right. Mississippi State suffered two losses in 1939, both 7-0 losses to Auburn and Alabama. The Alabama loss came on October 28, 1939. Mississippi State would not lose for over two years after that, finally tasting defeat at No. 10 Duquesne 16-0 on November 15, 1941. The only non-wins for the Bulldogs in that time period were a 7-7 tie with Auburn and a Croom-like 0-0 tie at LSU.

The biggest win of them all during that time had to be Mississippi State picking up a victory in the Orange Bowl. Mississippi State had played in the Orange Bowl in 1937, losing 13-12 to Duquesne, a team that seemed to be a thorn for Mississippi State.

In 1941, the Bulldogs returned to Miami looking to win the Orange Bowl. Mississippi State drew first blood when John Tripson snagged a blocked punt in the end zone to put Mississippi State ahead. The Bulldogs pushed their lead to 14-0 behind a two-yard touchdown run by Billy Jefferson.

Georgetown would cut the lead in half, but get no closer as Mississippi State won the game 14-7.

While most Mississippi State fans revere the 1941 squad, McKeen called the 1940 squad his best.